Nigeria quits MOWCA over electoral illegalities

By Peter Usman://

Nigeria quits Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa, MOWCA following disregard for the  Rules of Procedure  regarding  the  eligibility  of  candidates

nominated for the  position of the Secretary General  of the organization.

This was contained in a statement by the delegation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA held on Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The statement reads in parts: “It is sad, and most depressing  given  Nigeria’s  ardent and consistent support  for MOWCA and its  activities, that Nigeria as a nation must take a stand against the promotion of illegality, disrespect for the rule of law and contravention of the Rules regarding election of the Secretary General of MOWCA

This position followed the presentation for election for the position of Secretary General  of over aged candidates by Guinea and the Republic of Benin, leading Nigeria to further observe: “Nigeria  draws  the  attention  of  the  General  Assembly  to  the comment  of MOWCA as presented  by  MOWCA secretariat in  the annotated Agenda circulated  this  week to  the  Committee of Experts  meeting, which  confirmed that Nigeria is the only country that met the age eligibility criteria requirement that candidates  must not  exceed  55 years.

The candidate nominated by Nigeria was 55 years as  at when  nominations closed in 2020  while  the candidates of Guinea was  60 years old and  that of Benin was 62  years old.”

By this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adaliku was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed.

Still expressing its displeasure, the statement continued: “The  apparent  willingness of some  member  States  to  consider  for  elections candidates  who  knowingly contravened  the  age criteria having  exceeded  the maximum age  limit by more than 5 years in  the case of Guinea and 7 years by Benin, does not portend well for the reputation  and  operation  of MOWCA as a rule-based organization”.

The statement further pointed out that no member States has supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria, as the records show, she has contributed over $5million in the past 10 year with the organization not employing a single Nigerian:.” It  should be noted that not  a single citizen of Nigeria has ever  been employed in MOWCA, and  that  this  is  the  first  time  that  Nigeria  has  contested  for  the position  of  the  Secretary  General  of  the  organization  even  though  it  is  an uncontested  fact  that  it  is  essentially the  contributions  of  Nigeria  that has sustained  the organization over the  years,” it said.

Speaking at the occasion, the Nigeria Team lead of the committee of expert, Barr (Mrs) Mfon Usoro thanked the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, HE. Amb. Omar Suleiman for “being you – always 100% committed to serving Nigeria and your fellow citizens. Your experience in the maritime sector and familiarity with the terrain of diplomacy was self evident”.

Also speaking,  she poured encomiums on the Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, saying “May I be permitted to express my feminist sentiments please. The HMS is a fantastic Amazon warrior, was backed by a very smart general in the person of the female Permanent Secretary. The synergy and coordination between the two great female personalities is most admirable. It is motivating and facilitates work”.

For Dr. Adaliku, the she encouraged him saying: “we appreciate your disposition throughout the mission. Be comforted that Nigeria found you a worthy candidate and harnessed the instrumentality of State to fight for you and that you were not defeated” in his remarks, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Bashir Jamoh, expressed disappointment over the election but expressed sincere belief that under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, “we can and will proceed with a greater resolve as we re-calibrate to focus on what was, all along, our main target – Category C elections of the IMO Council.”

Of note is the fact that in the 45 years existence of the organization, for the first time, the position of the Secretary General remained vacant.

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